Nobles County Library (Worthington and Adrian Branch): Director Clint Wolthuizen

Q What are the primary responsibilities of the libraries? A To provide for the information needs of Nobles County residents. This means providing access to print, media and digital resources that residents may otherwise not have the means or abil...

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Librarians Laurie Ebbers and Roxana Castillo help patrons check out books at the Nobles County Library in Worthington. Tim Middagh/Daily Globe

Q What are the primary responsibilities of the libraries?


  • To provide for the information needs of Nobles County residents. This means providing access to print, media and digital resources that residents may otherwise not have the means or ability to access.
  • To provide educational, recreational and instructional services in a safe, friendly, multicultural and community-centered atmosphere while reaching out to all residents of Nobles County.
  • To provide access to technology and communication resources.
  • To be responsive and flexible to the needs of the greater Nobles County community.

Q How do the libraries serve the public? A Public service is the nature of the work we do. The library staff in Worthington and Adrian truly care about making a positive impact in the lives of the people we serve.
The primary responsibilities of our department end up meeting the needs of the public on many levels, and the information and services provided by the library have individual and wide-ranging impacts.
On the individual level, we help patrons with literacy, language and basic skills training. We often act as a referral center to connect people with support services and local agencies. The library plays a vital role in helping people educate themselves and reach their potential.

Furthermore, our services are comprehensive to individuals of all ages -– there are programs for newborns in which the groundwork is laid for learning and literacy, and there are programs for adults in which knowledge is shared and gained.
Additionally, we provide high-speed Internet access and technology instruction, which allows many Nobles County citizens to conduct business and commerce, communicate with loved ones, search for jobs and complete tasks of daily living that arise within a technology-based society. In other words, we serve the public by attempting to improve the quality and wholeness of life for each individual we assist.
The library serves the public on a broader scale by strengthening the county on the educational, economic and social levels. The library serves as a place to connect people with jobs or the means to enhance their education and skills. This improves the local workforce and economy. Educationally, the library strengthens the public and private schools by providing additional access to materials, a point of entry to the ELM database, computers to complete assignments and a place to study. Moreover, one of the goals of the Summer Reading Program is to prevent students from backsliding in their reading proficiency. On a social level, the library serves as a place for public discourse and participation in democracy.
The ability to access information regardless of race, income, class, age or gender is a primary component of the democratic process.
The above examples are only a small sampling of the ways in which our responsibilities serve the public.
Q What were the library’s major accomplishments over the past year?

  • Record attendance in children’s programming and outreach services.
  • The Nobles County Library and the Plum Creek Library System continued to develop the digital library collection of eBooks, electronic audio books and electronic periodicals. Patron usage of the digital collection increased as a result.
  • Public access stations were installed, which now allows patrons to search the collection on their own, locate materials and place holds. The installation frees up the public Internet computers for other use, reduces congestion at the service desk, and allows patrons to freely search for and access materials without having to go through a librarian.
  • Presentations, programming and author visits were enhanced for adults.
  • Completed a revised space needs assessment that provides a valuable baseline for discussions centered on the future of library services and facility planning.
  • Received multiple grants to improve children’s programming and provide greater digital access.
  • The Adrian Branch Library received a new roof, which will make possible other necessary repairs and updates in 2016. 

Q Expectations for the coming year? A There will be continued discussions on facility planning and the nature of what a library facility in Worthington will look like in the years to come. Library staff, the library board and county administration and commissioners will continue to explore how the library and information needs of Nobles County citizens can best be met.
The Adrian Branch Library will receive necessary repairs and updates.
Additional programming, presentations and author visits are planned through available legacy funds and the normal library budget. The author William Kent Krueger is scheduled to visit Adrian and Worthington in early June.
The library will provide wi-fi enabled devices for in-house public use through a grant from the Blandin Foundation. The devices will become available this month. Classes on how to use the devices will be offered, and the library is coordinating with other community agencies to ensure the devices are effectively used and positively impact the citizens of the county.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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